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Car Review

Mercedes-Benz EQA review

£49,695 - £60,455
610
Published: 29 Feb 2024
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Not fun to drive nor spacious in the back, the EQA is an EV bodge job. The interior's nice though

Good stuff

Cabin feels expensive, quiet and relaxing to drive

Bad stuff

Battery eats into rear space, active safety kit should be standard, rivals have more range

Overview

What is it?

This is Mercedes’ small electric crossover, given a light facelift. As before, it has the smooth plastic front end of a EQ model, but the steel body behind that is GLA, their conventional compact crossover.

Electric and aero optimisation brings the max range to 346 miles for the most efficient and biggest-battery spec. Oh, and you can now use it to tow a braked trailer. What was that we said about range? Trailering will torch it.

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The visual facelift involves new wheels, star motifs on the grille – a repeating logo that's a bit Hermes scarf. Inside, there's a new version of the screen interface. Trim materials get a gentle go-over too.

When the EQA first appeared in 2021, it grazed the lush grass in a field empty of rivals. Now its fodder is being eaten bare by a herd of them. See the BMW X1, Audi Q4 e-tron, Volvo EX40, Lexus RZ, Genesis GV60 – and that's just the ones among the posh brands. A Tesla Model Y or Skoda Enyaq or Ford Mustang Mach-E or Peugeot e-3008 or Nissan Ariya will give you more size and range for less money.

The EQA started as a GLA, but took post-hoc surgical intervention to wedge in the battery. A bit of a Franken-EV. As we'll see, it shows. Especially if you're sitting in the back.

So what's the powertrain like?

The base model is officially called the EQA 250+ because the performance, at least at sub-motorway speed, roughly matches a GLA 250 petrol. A 190bhp permanent-magnet motor is hooked up to the front wheels. The + in the name arrived when the battery grew slightly in capacity.

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That slab now stores 70.5kWh of useable energy, and in the small-wheel base-model version it's good for 346 miles WLTP, or 311 miles in the big-wheel spec we tested.

Next up are twin-motor EQA 300 4Matic and 350 4Matic at 228 and 292bhp, adding an asynchronous (all-coil) motor in the rear. They have a smaller 66.5kWh battery and are less efficient, so for top-spec you're down to 260 miles.

Click on the Buying tab for our real-world range experience.

And what's it like as a family car?

Nice if you're in the front. The dash and furniture is basically as per a GLA. That means quality furniture. The big screens are graphically rich, although we're unconvinced the new interface, having lost its console touchpad, is much of an improvement.

On the move it's quiet and reassuringly stable. But for the one behind the wheel there's no fun to be had pushing it in bends.

A bigger problem with the EQA is beyond the scope of a mere facelift. Wedging a battery into a floor space not initially designed for it has stolen leg room from the rear and made the boot shallow.

Our choice from the range

What's the verdict?

The world has moved on. Rivals now exist that are more fun, roomier, rangier and cheaper

If you really want a Mercedes and have no need for leggy rear accommodation, the EQA will satisfy. The front cabin feels smart and expensive. This is the feelgood factor that'll satisfy Mercedes' fanbase.

The front-wheel drive version has competitive – but far from outstanding – range and charging. Mercedes also offers a good on-road charging discount for the first year of ownership.

But really the world has moved on. Rivals now exist that are more fun, roomier, rangier and cheaper. Or all of those things.

The Rivals

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